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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for landlords

Rates can cause a huge headache for landlords and tenants. Make sure you understand who is responsible for paying these from the outset.

You'll need to establish a level of rent that is both attractive to tenants and covers your own expenditure on the property. When setting rents you should be realistic and remember that letting a property at a slightly reduced rent is more favourable than it sitting vacant on the market.

Your property is your tenants' home and you have a responsibility to keep them informed of any developments that may affect their ability to stay in that home. This includes informing your tenants if the property is subject to mortgage possession proceedings.

Unless your tenancy agreement forbids subletting, your tenant can sublet rooms in the property. If your tenant sublets, the property could become a House in Multiple Occupation or, if it is already a HMO, subletting could lead to your HMO becoming overcrowded.

Professional bodies such as the Landlords Association of Northern Ireland, the National Landlords' Association and Housing Rights may be able to provide assistance and training if you on your legislative requirements and how to resolve problems with tenants. These agencies can also help you keep up to date with changes in the private rented sector and how they will affect you and your business.

Landlord Advice NI

Landlord Advice is a free, confidential advice service for landlords in Northern Ireland.

The council will only grant a HMO licence if it is satisfied that the management arrangements for the property are satisfactory. As well as meeting the fit and proper person test, owners and managing agents are subject to a Code of Practice. Breaching this code could lead to losing your licence.

All tenants have a legal right to apply for housing benefit to help them with their housing costs. You should get to know how housing benefit is calculated and paid.

Once your property is up to standard and you've decided on a fair rent to charge you should advertise it as available to let. There are a number of ways you can do this.

Your tenants have a legal right to know your name, address and telephone number. If you have paid for the services of an agent, but your tenants have decided to contact you directly, you should talk to your tenants to find out why. The agent may not be providing the services you are paying them for or may not be carrying out their legal obligations.

Tenants who are subject to a fixed term agreement should not move out until that term has passed. However, that may not stop a tenant trying to leave the property before the term expires. If this happens, it may be best to negotiate an exit agreement with your tenant that reimburses you for any out of pocket costs.

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